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Antony Blinken delivers strongest public rebuke of Israel yet: ‘Get out of Gaza’

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered one of the Biden administration’s harshest public rebukes of Israel on Sunday, amid its war with Hamas in Gaza.

During two television interviews, Blinken said the United States wanted Israeli forces to “leave Gaza” amid what he described as “a horrible loss of innocent civilian lives.”

He also said Israel’s war tactics have failed to neutralize Hamas and could create a power “vacuum” in the Palestinian territory.

Asked about the United States’ refusal to provide high-payload bombs to America’s ally Israel, Blinken said: “We believe two things. First, there must be a clear and credible plan to protect civilians, which we have not yet seen. Second, we also need a plan for what happens after the conflict in Gaza ends. And we still haven’t seen it, because what are we seeing right now? We see areas of Gaza cleared of Hamas by Israel and where Hamas is returning, including in the north, including in Khan Younis.”

He added: “If we look at the case of Rafah, they could go there and achieve some initial success, but potentially at an incredibly high cost to civilians, but that would not be sustainable, that would not be sustainable. And they will be left with the responsibility for a lasting insurgency, because many armed Hamas will remain, no matter what they do in Rafah, or if they leave Gaza, as we believe they should do. There will then be a vacuum that will likely be filled by chaos, anarchy and, ultimately, Hamas again.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States wants Israeli forces to “leave Gaza” amid what he described as “a horrific loss of innocent civilian lives.” AFP via Getty Images

The comments came during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Blinken also had an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where he echoed, for the first time publicly by a U.S. official, the findings of a new Biden administration report to Congress on Friday that said Israel used weapons supplied by the United States in Gaza. probably violated international humanitarian law.

“Regarding the use of weapons, the concerns about the incidents given the overall harm caused to children, women and men, it was reasonable to assess that in some cases Israel acted “a manner that is not consistent with international humanitarian law,” Blinken said, condemning “the horrific loss of life of innocent civilians.”

President Biden boards Air Force One before taking off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington, May 11, 2024. AFP via Getty Images

“We treat Israel, one of our closest allies and partners, as we would treat any other country, including assessing something like international humanitarian law and its compliance with it,” he said. -he continued.

During the same interview, Blinken praised President Biden’s support for Israel – saying “no one has done more than Biden” – despite the apparent change in tone.

“No one did more to defend Israel when it mattered than President Biden,” the secretary of state said.

Buildings of Al-Azhar University in Gaza were damaged during the Israeli military offensive, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Gaza City, April 28, 2024. REUTERS

“He was there in the days after October 7, the first president to visit Israel in the middle of a conflict when Iran launched an unprecedented attack on Israel. A few weeks ago, 300 projectiles, including ballistic missiles, were launched at Israel. The United States, for the first time, participated in its defense act, and President Biden assembled a coalition of countries that helped defend Israel.

Blinken spoke with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday, reiterating U.S. opposition to the Israeli offensive in Rafah given the number of civilians killed there, according to the Department of Defense account of the call. ‘State.

He said the United States continues to work with Arab countries and others for weeks to develop “credible security, governance and reconstruction plans” in Gaza, but “we did not see this coming of Israel. …We need to see that too.

More than a million Palestinians have been forced to live in Rafah amid the Israeli offensive across Gaza. Israel has described the city as one of the last strongholds of Hamas terrorists.

The war began on October 7 after an attack on Israel by Hamas that killed 1,200 people.

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